I would not say they are “In vogue” at all. They have always been a fundamental building block of good management. Recently the term OKRs has become more common because it has been used and promoted by some VCs, Google, Intel and other successful companies. However, OKR is almost identical to Management By Objective (MBO) that was created in the 1960s by Peter Drucker, The Father of Management.
This is a classic management principle that any professional manager should understand, which most business schools fail to teach well. It is the “Blocking and tackling” of management that cannot be ignored. Sometimes it is called SMART Goals, a slightly different take with 90% overlap too, that is an acronym for Specific, Measurable (metrics), Attainable, Realistic and Time bounded. All-important attributes to set non-ambiguous goals.
Decades of research has shown a 56% improvement in value creation at companies that use good goal setting systems, specifically MBO. Many companies think they do this, but fail to adhere to its key requirements and drift away from the discipline needed. MBO/OKR solves many problems in team alignment, focus, communication and far more. Companies without them are very unlikely to succeed and will be bested in competitors
that do it well.
Metrics, or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) also were promoted by Peter Drucker, The Father of Management, who said: "You cannot improve what you do not measure." Which is literally true. You must benchmark performance to even know it has improved.
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You can see some of my videos on Management By Objective/OKRs here: Management 101 The Basics of Goal Setting, Accountability and Team Performance MBO p1
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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.
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